Spoiler Check: I have completed the Wheel of Time series up to Towers of Midnight inclusive
I am re-reading the Wheel of Time series in preparation for the release of the final instalment, A Memory of Light, next year and have just concluded the marathon book 6, Lord of Chaos, on Audible.
I enjoyed it more the second time around, maybe because I knew what was coming or, more to the point, not coming. Much is made of how Jordan’s epic sags in the middle, with the books tending to bloat, the pace slowing to a crawl and political scheming coming to the fore at the expense of action. All this is true, but if you already know all that from a first read you can enjoy the careful way Jordan drops in a series of seemingly minor plot points which are crucial to pay-offs later, sometimes several books later. I missed a lot of detail first time around, or simply forgot events which turned out to be relevant. There are so many character names to remember, so many incidents. Thank heavens I can get help from on-line resources like Encyclopaedia WoT which contain detailed chapter by chapter summaries and, more importantly, copious footnotes explaining how characters and events link together, sometimes spanning several books.
A case in point is Cabriana Mecandes, the Aes Sedai tortured and killed by Semirhage in Chapter 6. This short section helps paint a picture of Semirhage but the Cabriana torture incident is critical to the unmasking of Delana and Halima in Knife of Dreams, 5 whole books later. It really does take a superhuman memory, an on-line encyclopaedia or repeated re-reads to get a proper appreciation of how everything hangs together.
I also enjoyed the start of the Egwene on the path to glory arc. Jordan really does take his time to plot Egwene’s rise from Wisdom’s apprentice in backwater village all the way to becoming the best Amyrlin Seat in White Tower history on the eve of Tarmon G’aidon.
The low points were that we also embarked on the interminable search for the Bowl of Winds and that tedious spat between Perrin and Faile that just goes on forever.